A statement released by the Kenya Airports Authority (KAA) discrediting a report by international media Sky News over the identity of a stowaway who fell off the undercarriage of a Kenya Airways plane in London has faced a backlash on the internet.
On Tuesday evening, Sky News premiered an investigative piece which revealed the identity of the man who fell from the plane moments before landing at the at London’s Heathrow Airport in June as Paul Manyasia.
According to the report, the 29-year-old was an employee of Colnet, a company that provides cleaning services at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport.
In a statement released on Tuesday evening, KAA rubbished the reports saying the authority had done its investigations and found out that nobody by the name Paul Manyasia worked at JKIA.
“Colnet Limited Kenya is a cleaning company contracted by Kenya Airports Authority. The name Paul Manyasia does not appear in the JKIS register, ” said KAA.
KAA added that all staff working at the airport require access pass, but a search by KAA team revealed that the name did not appear in its Airport Pass Bio Metric Register either.
“The identity of the stowaway is an open and active investigation and any information received will be investigated to ensure a factual conclusion, ” added KAA.
A statement released by Colnet corroborated that of KAA. The company said, “without doubt, we don’t have, and have never had Paul Manyasi as an employee.”
“Colnet is aware of the incident by way of fact that there were investigations carried out on the stowaway incident and the company has provided all its employee’s record and information to the investigative authorities which confirm that there is no employee by the name Paul Manyasi, ” said Colnet.
In its report, Sky News relied on details from a Colnet employee identified only as Irene.
Irene told Sky News that Paul went missing in June the same the KQ stowaway story hit headlines.
“We were at work in the morning…he suddenly disappeared. I called his phone it was off,” Irene, who was Manyasi’s girlfriend, told Sky News.
Irene positively identified Paul’s personal items including a bag scribbled the letters “MCA” and shorts that were recovered from the plane after the incident.
She, however, couldn’t confirm that the e-fit photo generated by London’s Metropolitan Police entirely matched Paul’s facial features saying “They look alike but Paul wasn’t dark – not dark – but the face resembles Paul.”
Sky News Africa correspondent John Sparks also interviewed Paul’s friend and neighbour at Mukuru Kwa Njenga slum which is near the airport.
The man only identified as Patrick said Paul had told him that he was eyeing another job outside Kenya but did not specify where exactly.
The Britsh media also interviewed Paul’s parents in Western Kenya, who confirmed that the bag recovered was similar to the one owned by their son who went missing in June.
With the details, netizens wondered if KAA had been cornered and was trying to save itself from imminent ridicule.
Here are some of the reactions:
Is it the same @KenyaAirports authority that has proliferated ineptitude at wilson airport? We can understand. No wonder the former Chief Justice called Kenya a bandit economy
— #kihara (@nguyaikihara) November 13, 2019
These guys love embarrassing themselves. They should be telling us after 4 months where is the CCTV footage
— N. Chege 🇰🇪 (@_theCustodian) November 13, 2019
They even have the audacity to state their responsibility. Even the family and girlfriend have confirmed. KAA is out of order and failing in its mandate.
— gilbert (@GilbertNM15) November 13, 2019
This is how institutions defend themselves once they are on the wrong….. Nobody wants to be sincere and apologize. No virtues at all nawadays.!
— Cynthia Mukui (@Cynthiamukui) November 13, 2019
@KenyaAirports did the person whose photo appears in the @SkyNews report work for Colnet? We don't care whether it's Paul Manyasi or not, we just want to know whether the person shown in the news item ever worked at JKIA!
— Matifari (@Matifarri) November 13, 2019
As always, that's what leaders in this country do, deny deny deny, even his employer denied ever having him as one of theirs.
— Phannie A. Kwegah 🇰🇪 (@PhannieAK) November 13, 2019